England’s Rebecca Adlington won gold in the women’s 800m freestyle at the Commonwealth Games on this day in 2010.

Adlington added the 800metres freestyle Commonwealth title to her Olympic crown as she dominated from the start at the Dr SP Mukherjee Aquatics Complex in Delhi.

The then 21-year-old qualified second fastest for the final behind Wendy Trott, but it did not take long for her to assume control and she was more than two seconds ahead after 200 metres.

Adlington stretched her advantage to seven metres at the halfway point before Trott started making inroads in an attempt to chase down the double Olympic gold medallist.

But Adlington’s unassailable advantage was never seriously threatened as she touched home in eight minutes 24.69 seconds, more than two seconds ahead of Trott and Australia’s Melissa Gorman.

Adlington was relieved that she had managed to deliver after being the favourite to win the race.

“It is the mental pressure I put on myself because I want it so badly,” she said. “I have got the pressure because I have experienced the feeling of being on top and worry that I might never experience that feeling again.

“I’ve got to enjoy the feeling of wins like these.”

 

Adlington won four medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games (Anthony Devlin/PA)

 

Adlington’s win was her third medal of the Games after previously claiming bronze in the 200m freestyle and 4x200m relay, and she went on to secure another gold medal in the 400m freestyle.

She added: “Coming here if I wanted to get a gold medal it was going to be in that event to be honest.

“I just decided to go for it and went for it from the start and at 400 saw I was a bit ahead and thought ‘I might as well stick at this pace, just keep it nice and smooth’.

“It wasn’t about the time at all there, this week has not been about times for anyone, it’s been about the racing.

“It’s been a long season so it’s nice to finish off with a gold medal.”

Mark Wood has warned England not to rely on their injured “Messiah” Ben Stokes to ride to the rescue after a punishing start to their World Cup defence.

The 2019 champions were roundly thrashed by New Zealand in the tournament opener in Ahmedabad, going down by nine wickets as Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra shared an unbroken stand of 273.

Stokes, the hero of the Lord’s final four years ago and newly back in the ODI fold after reversing his retirement, missed out with a left hip problem and cut a frustrated figure as he watched on from the dugout.

Details of the Test captain’s fitness are sparse but he has struggled with a longstanding left knee problem in recent years and has already been ruled out as a bowling option in the World Cup to ease the load on his body.

England would love to welcome him back for Tuesday’s clash against Bangladesh in the Himalayan city of Dharamasala, but there is no guarantee he will be cleared for action.

Whether or not he makes it, Wood wants the rest of the squad to take their own responsibility for turning things around.

“It’s not all just about ‘the Messiah’ Stokesy coming back and him doing everything. I don’t want to put too much pressure on him,” said his Durham team-mate.

“He’s not Superman. He’s been through tough situations. Other people have to stand up as well. He’s obviously one of our best players, if not our best player, but all the lads have to stand up as well.”

Wood offered an uncertain update on Stokes’ current status, but England have already made it clear they will not gamble so early in their six-week stay.

“I don’t know (how he is), but he’s got strapping round his leg, which is helping,” said Wood.

“He’ll have to get in the nets and see if the strapping does its job and allows him to move how he wants. It’s not just about batting, it’s in the field too.

“Obviously we want Stokesy back – he’s a huge player. We’ll just have to assess with the medical team. It’s not up to me.”

Former captain Eoin Morgan, the man who masterminded England’s white-ball revolution and lifted the World Cup at Lord’s four years ago, emphasised the influential role Stokes still has to play – on and off the field.

“Ben Stokes’ return will be key. The difference he makes is invaluable and there is no measure on the impact he has in a changing room,” Morgan said.

“He believes he can achieve anything from any sort of circumstances and has backed that up in match-winning performances. He breeds confidence and belief. After a defeat like that, he will no doubt be speaking in that changing room.

“His words hold a lot of weight because they are backed up by performance. He will have had a great view of the whole game and hopefully he’ll be back on the field as soon as possible.”

Wood, meanwhile, has plenty to consider after he was put to the sword by Conway and Ravindra. Playing his first ODI since March he sent down five wicketless overs for 55 and was thrashed for seven fours and two pulled sixes.

He missed the recent home series against New Zealand due to a sore heel but he insisted the only pain he felt after Thursday’s game was psychological.

“I’m a bit battered mentally, from watching the ball going over my head a lot of times, but physically I feel OK,” he said.

“It’s fine to let it hurt but then we’ll refocus on the next game. We’ll move on pretty quickly. We want to keep this trophy, to prove people wrong. There’ll be question marks now but, as a group, we believe in each other.”

Mikel Arteta has confirmed Bukayo Saka is in contention to face Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday.

Saka sustained a muscle injury and was substituted during Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat at Lens in Group B of the Champions League on Tuesday.

The winger, who has scored four Premier League goals in seven games this season, could feature in Sunday’s clash at the Emirates and is part of Gareth Southgate’s England squad for a friendly with Australia and a Euro 2024 qualifier with Italy.

“He is in contention, we’ll see how he progresses from here to Sunday,” Arteta said.

“Obviously he had to leave the pitch (against Lens), that’s never good news, but let’s see how he recovers.

“I have spoken to Gareth on several occasions. I have to do my job and give him the news.

“He needs to make the best decision for the national team. I’m not going to get involved.”

The Spaniard believes Arsenal’s Community Shield victory over Manchester City was important for confidence but admitted the Gunners will need to be “at our best in every department for 100 minutes” if they are to repeat that success this weekend.

Arsenal beat Pep Guardiola’s treble-winning side on penalties in August after Leandro Trossard’s dramatic stoppage-time equaliser cancelled out Cole Palmer’s opener at Wembley.

However, that result between the teams has been the exception in recent years. City had beaten Arsenal in eight successive matches heading into the Community Shield, while Guardiola’s men are currently on a 12-match winning streak against the Gunners in the Premier League.

In fact, Arsenal have to go back to 2015 for the last time they claimed victory over City in the league, and Arteta knows what level of performance his side must produce on Sunday if they are to end that winless run.

“It was an important one for us (winning in Community Shield),” Arteta said.

“Having success against City is something you have to value, the way we did it as well and it gave us confidence and a lift that we can beat them.

“One thing for certain is that we know we will have to be at our best in every department for 100 minutes and then we will have a chance.”

An Arsenal victory this weekend would see them move two points clear of current leaders City, but Arteta dismissed any suggestion it would be a season-defining result.

“It will be a big boost energy- and confidence-wise but apart from that and the three points, nothing else,” he said.

Arteta highlighted Guardiola’s strengths as a manager and noted his fellow Spaniard’s decision to play Bernardo Silva at left-back in previous meetings was unexpected.

And the Gunners boss, who was Guardiola’s assistant at City between 2016 and 2019, credited his compatriot’s willingness to change tactics in games.

“Every year we have new tools, new players and different things,” Arteta said.

“We know each other, we expect things from each other but it is down to the players.

“I didn’t expect him to play Bernardo at left-back. Yes (expect Pep to make big changes) and he does that in big games.

“He’s done it this season as well. Against different opponents he does different things and that’s a big quality of them (City) because they can change.

“They can do this during the game, at half-time and that’s a strength, they can dominate.”

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson admits his side are in the thick of a “serious injury crisis” with midfielder Eberechi Eze becoming the latest player set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Eze’s hamstring issue ruled him out of selection for Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad after he featured last month, with the 25-year-old joining an ever-growing list of Palace players unavailable for Saturday’s home encounter with Nottingham Forest.

Despite the latest blow, Hodgson made clear he had no intention of courting pity, pointing to the bigger picture as he sought to assure concerned supporters.

Hodgson said: “There is no sympathy in the world of football for injuries and there is no point seeking sympathy. It happens to all teams.

“We happen to be in the middle of quite a serious injury crisis at the moment, but we have to learn to deal with it and accept the situation and look forward to the time when our squad is bigger again when these players return.

“OK, it’s not going to be in the next week or two, but the season doesn’t end until May so we have to keep that in mind as well.”

Palace sit ninth in the Premier League table after seven matches and enter Saturday’s contest bolstered by their 1-0 victory over Manchester United last time out, with defender Joachim Andersen providing the decisive strike.

Hodgson, aware of his dwindling resources, said: “We are going to be dependent now, really, on the players who have come in to take their places in doing a good job, which to be fair they have been doing.

“I’m very satisfied with the way the team has been playing, and we’re a squad, so there is no point complaining about injuries. They do happen and you must never feel sorry for yourself.

“One or two of the players who have come in, in the last two or three weeks, who have not necessarily played from the start, have come in and done exceptionally well. That is the way we have got to look at it.”

While Hodgson refused to set a timeframe for Eze’s return, he did concede that the injury was “serious” and “the severity of the injury might suggest it’s as long as that.”

Michael Olise, among Hodgson’s other key attackers, has not played this season as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury of his own, while summer signing Jefferson Lerma – also out with same problem – remains ruled out.

Odsonne Edouard, yet another member of Palace’s hamstring woe-club, has progressed and could start against Forest at Selhurst Park, while Brazilian Matheus Franca is still working his way back to match fitness, but is “no longer injured”.

Dean Henderson, James Tomkins and Naouirou Ahamada all remain unavailable.

Tino Livramento has returned to the England Under-21s squad for the first time in over 18 months.

The Newcastle defender has not featured since March 2022, having suffered a serious knee injury a month later which ruled him out for over a year.

He has made four appearances for Newcastle since his £32million move from Southampton in August.

Aaron Ramsey has also returned, with Brentford goalkeeper Matthew Cox – currently on loan at Bristol Rovers – Liverpool defender Jarell Quansah, Hull’s Jaden Philogene and Jonathan Rowe of Norwich given their first call ups for the Euro qualifiers against Serbia and Ukraine.

Boss Lee Carsley said: “Tino is a player we rate highly, it’s going to be good to have him back in and around the squad.

“He’s been out for a while injured, so we’ll be looking to support him and Newcastle with that.

“Jaden and Jonathan are both doing really well with their clubs at the minute – they’re players who are in form which is always a good position for us to be in.

“We also have Jarell Quansah in the squad for the first time. He’s been getting game time at Liverpool which, as we know, is a really tough team to get into for any player, so he deserves to be a part of this squad.”

The Young Lions, the defending champions, host Serbia in Group F at the City Ground next Thursday before facing Ukraine in Slovakia on October 16.

Carsley added: “We always talk about the players pushing each other and we should never be in a position where we’re doing a copy and paste of the squad list.

“The players need to know they have to keep performing, either with their clubs or when they’re on camp with us.

“There are some players in the squad who weren’t with us last time and there are four or five who are really close to getting in this squad.

“When we look at the Elite League squad (previously Under-20s), that’s also a very competitive age group and we want to have them in the position where they are pushing these players in the older age group.”

England Under-21 squad: Beadle (Oxford, on loan from Brighton), Cox (Bristol Rovers, on loan from Brentford), Trafford (Burnley); Branthwaite (Everton), Cresswell (Leeds), Harwood-Bellis (Southampton, on loan from Manchester City), Humphreys (Swansea, on loan from Chelsea), Lewis (Manchester City), Livramento (Newcastle), Norton-Cuffy (Millwall, on loan from Arsenal), Quansah (Liverpool); Elliott (Liverpool), Hackney (Middlesbrough), McAtee (Sheffield United, loan from Manchester City), Patino (Swansea City, on loan from Arsenal), Ramsey (Burnley); Bynoe-Gittens (Borussia Dortmund), Delap (Hull, on loan from Manchester City), Iling-Junior (Juventus), Madueke (Chelsea), Palmer (Chelsea), Philogene (Hull), Rowe (Norwich)

Harry Kane will still have the support of Tottenham fans despite his decision to leave the club, according to fellow Spurs favourite Jermain Defoe.

Kane signed for Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich for an estimated €117million (£100m) in the most recent transfer window, leaving North London having overtaken Jimmy Greaves as the club's all-time record goalscorer.

Kane scored 280 goals in 435 appearances in all competitions before ending his 19-year association with Spurs, and he has started life at Bayern in similarly prolific fashion, netting eight times in six Bundesliga outings while also getting off the mark in the Champions League.

Though Kane decided to leave in pursuit of the silverware that eluded him at Spurs, Defoe believes the club's fans will continue to back the England captain in his new surroundings.

Speaking to Stats Perform at the Legends of Football event, in aid of Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy, Defo said: "For Harry, it's amazing for him and his family. It's a new challenge.

"Everyone at Tottenham wants to wish him the best – we always knew he was going to do well anyway because he's a world-class player. He'll score goals anywhere. Nothing changes in terms of goals.

"We just want to wish him the best because Harry as a footballer is special but he's a special guy and he deserves everything he gets."

 

Kane the final piece of Bayern's puzzle?

Bayern have claimed 11 Bundesliga titles in a row, but the trophy they really want to lift is the Champions League having not made it past the quarter-final stage since last winning European football's elite competition in the 2019-20 campaign.

Kane has hit the ground running at Bayern, giving fans hope that he can be the man to lead them back to European glory.

The England international has scored eight goals in his first six Bundesliga appearances, with only Erling Haaland scoring more in his first six games in the league, while he has surpassed some of Bayern's greatest strikers in terms of their starts at the club.

His seven goals in his first five Bundesliga games for the club is more than Bayern legends such as Miroslav Klose and Robert Lewandowski managed, while his 10 goal involvements during those games is also the most in a player's first five Bundesliga appearances.

Kane is second behind only Serhou Guirassy (10) for Bundesliga goals this season, finding the net every 66 minutes on average while converting 34.78 per cent of his shots.

His three assists indicate he has also been a key facilitator for Bayern, while he is tied for fourth in the Bundesliga in terms of big chances created (four).

It is still early days, but Kane's excellent start suggests he could be the one to help Bayern back to the very top of European football.

Samoa may have endured a disappointing World Cup that is almost certain to result in group-stage elimination but they will be determined to finish on a high against Pool D winners England in Lille on Saturday.

Here the PA news agency examines five talking points ahead of England’s last match before the knockout phase.

England go full bore

Steve Borthwick takes satisfaction in repeating his mantra that the next match is all that counts, but by going full bore against Samoa he has revealed his selection thinking for the quarter-final against probable opponents Fiji. One or two adjustments aside, this is the starting XV that will take the field in Marseille on Sunday week, shaped around the generalship of George Ford and Owen Farrell.

Back in the saddle

Explaining his decision to reunite twin playmakers Ford and Farrell as starters for the first time since the 2021 Six Nations, Borthwick pointed to their win ratio of 77.5 per cent across 40 Tests when paired together at fly-half and inside centre. England’s head coach believes a partnership that flourished under his predecessor Eddie Jones, reaching its apex in the World Cup semi-final destruction of New Zealand four years ago, can thrive once again.

History beckons for beefed up Farrell

Farrell has packed on extra muscle in anticipation of his new role at inside centre, where he will provide a carrying threat on top of assisting Ford to run the game with spells at first-receiver as well as offering midfield kick, run and pass options. Earlier this week scrum-half Danny Care gave an insight into how Farrell will be used when he said: “Owen is a big 10 so he will punch the line a little bit more”. Farrell is also assigned the goalkicking duties and needs only two more points to eclipse the England record of 1,179 set by Jonny Wilkinson.

England know their strengths

“Big boy rugby” is how Ireland prop Tadhg Furlong described the Lions’ first Test against South Africa in 2021 and that sentiment permeates through England’s dry run for the quarter-finals. Gone are the dazzling maestros of the 11-try rout of Chile – Marcus Smith and Henry Arundell – and in comes a win-at-all-costs mentality signposted by the inclusion of elite kickers at 10 and 12 and the squad’s two best kick chasing wings in Jonny May and Joe Marchant. Borthwick’s England are confident of their strengths, according to Courtney Lawes: “We’re a really strong defensive team. That’s our backbone. We’re an aerial kicking team and are very good at getting the ball back.”

Manu’s special moment

A big moment awaits for one of England’s greatest servants as Manu Tuilagi faces the nation of his birth for the first time in a Test career spanning 55 caps. Many of England’s finest performances of the last 12 years have had Tuilagi at their heart and while not the force of old, his pedigree as an international centre has enabled him to reach an important occasion. The 32-year-old left Samoa as a teenager but remains proud of his Islander heritage and has been an inspirational figure for both countries.

Jos Buttler admitted his England side were “completely outplayed” after their World Cup title defence began with a crushing nine-wicket loss to New Zealand.

The 2019 champions were well beaten across all three facets by the Black Caps in Ahmedabad, with a mammoth stand of 273 between unbeaten centurions Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra putting them away emphatically.

The pair’s poise and power put England’s 282 for nine firmly in the shade and there will be questions over soft top-order dismissals, patchy bowling and inconsistent fielding.

For a team who have repeatedly set the standard in white-ball cricket over the last eight years and hold both limited-overs titles, it was a chastening start to a long trek around India.

And Buttler made no attempt to sugarcoat the manner of the defeat.

“I’m disappointed. We were completely outplayed,” he said.

“I thought we were a long way short of our best with the bat, we were probably looking at 320, 330. We had a lot of starts but I thought we were just a bit off in our execution. We weren’t quite clinical enough with our shot making and gifted New Zealand a few wickets.

“But we’re not robots. Sometimes you don’t play as well as you would like. Everyone’s working hard, everyone’s prepared well and we were just a bit off it. In international cricket when you’re a little bit short and the opposition play very well, you’re going to lose the game of cricket.”

England are jetting straight off to the Himalayan mountain region of Dharamsala on Friday for their next group game against Bangladesh and, while they are sure to have plenty of doubts and misgivings to mull over on the journey, Joe Root urged them not to second guess themselves too much.

Root, who ended a run of indifferent ODI form with a measured knock of 77, insisted the result was not a dramatic setback to the wider ambitions. England lost key games on their way to winning the trophy in 2019 and also backed themselves into an early corner before lifting the T20 crown last year.

“It’s important that we stay calm. I don’t think there’s ever been a World Cup-winning side that hasn’t had a bump in the road or a stumble along the way,” he told BBC’s Test Match Special.

“Look at us in 2019, we had hiccups throughout that. We’ve just got to stay level and authentic to what we are as a team. When we do hit a bump in the road, we are a team that comes back strong and we double down on our identity as a team. So you can expect that when we get to Dharamsala.

“We’ve got to be able to withstand a bit of pressure, soak it up. We are aware of that, we know that is part and parcel of any World Cup journey. We’ve got evidence that our method works, because it has done over a long period of time so we’ve got to stay true to that.”

Root also channelled the ‘Bazball’ philosophy which has carried England’s Test team forward over the past 18 months, suggesting that the batting unit could respond to defeat by upping the ante and going even harder next time around.

“We won’t be seeing guys chipping it to mid-wicket or mid-off next game, they’ll be hitting it 20 rows back,” he said.

“That’s one example in a number of different areas where we can remind ourselves of how good we are and how intimidating we can be as a batting group. We want to double down on that, put sides under pressure and get those massive scores that blow teams away.”

England have reunited playmakers George Ford and Owen Farrell in their backline for Saturday’s final World Cup group match against Samoa in Lille.

They start together for the first time since the 2021 Six Nations as Steve Borthwick revives the creative axis that has excelled for England in the past as he assesses his options for the quarter-final.

Ford starts at fly-half having produced man-of-the-match displays against Argentina and Japan while Farrell shifts to inside centre to accommodate his rival for the 10 jersey.

Farrell needs two more points to become England’s highest scorer of all time, eclipsing the mark of 1,179 set by Jonny Wilkinson.

Manu Tuilagi is picked at 13 to provide a ball-carrying threat in what will be a special occasion for the Sale powerhouse, who faces the nation of his birth for the first time.

Joe Marchant is squeezed out of the midfield but finds a home on to the right wing, meaning there is no place for Henry Arundell despite his five-try haul against Chile.

Arundell drops out of the 23 altogether, as does Elliot Daly with Jonny May winning the race to start on the other wing as part of a back three that sees Freddie Steward replace Marcus Smith.

The urge to give Smith another run at full-back has been resisted but the rapid Harlequins ringmaster is poised to complete another cameo off the bench at Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

England are at full strength against Samoa and evidence of Ben Earl’s rise as a force on the Test stage is seen in his selection at number eight ahead of Billy Vunipola, who features on the bench.

Tom Curry is restored at openside after playing just 179 seconds against Argentina, at which point he was sent off for a dangerous tackle that resulted in a two-match ban which he completed against Chile.

A surprise pick in the front row sees Dan Cole preferred ahead of Kyle Sinckler at tighthead prop.

England qualified for the quarter-finals as Pool D winners on September 28 when Japan beat Samoa, allowing them to advance to a knockout appointment with likely opponents Fiji despite having a match to spare.

Borthwick said: “Whilst we are of course pleased with our results and qualification into the pool stages, we want to continue our improvement with a positive performance against a difficult and in-form Samoa team.

“Samoa are renowned for their physicality and this last game in the pool stages will be an excellent test for us as we continue in our World Cup journey.”

England’s World Cup defence began with a punishing nine-wicket defeat in Ahmedabad as New Zealand helped themselves to a slice of revenge four years in the making.

Organisers scheduled a repeat of the 2019 final to kick off this year’s tournament, but rather than a nail-biter to match the tension of that Lord’s classic, they had to settle for a thoroughly one-sided affair.

England needed a super over and a boundary countback to get their hands on the trophy last time around, but two majestic hundreds from Devon Conway and Rachin Ravindra meant the Black Caps romped home in the rerun with almost 14 overs to spare.

Conway finished 152 not out while his Wellington team-mate Ravindra reeled off an unbeaten 123 – more than double his previous ODI best.

The absence of Ben Stokes with a hip injury robbed the reigning champions of some middle-order firepower but their score of 282 for nine was nowhere near enough to constrain an outstanding Kiwi chase.

Where England relied on a composed innings of 77 from Joe Root, who managed four boundaries and a six while a series of unforced errors unfolded around him, Conway and Ravindra cut loose under lights.

Empty seats in the 134,000-capacity Narendra Modi Stadium could be tallied in the tens of thousands but the fans who did show up witnessed a remarkable stand of 273.

The pair came together in the second over after Sam Curran strangled Will Young down leg for a golden duck and proceeded to pile on 30 fours and eight sixes in a major statement of intent.

England, meanwhile, were chaotic with the bat, lethargic with the ball and sloppy in the field.

Put in to bat first they relied on Root to spare the blushes of his mis-firing top-order team-mates.

Dawid Malan was first to go for a scratchy 14, caught behind flashing hard at the impressive Matt Henry.

Jonny Bairstow (33) enjoyed a smoother start – including a flicked six off Trent Boult from the second ball of the day – but he offered a tame catch off Mitchell Santner just as he looked to take control.

Harry Brook, deputising for Stokes, also burned brightly and briefly. He clattered two fours and a six off Ravindra as he dropped three successive deliveries short, then lifted the next one straight down Conway’s throat at deep midwicket.

When Moeen Ali lost his off stump hacking across the line at Glenn Phillips, England had slipped to 118 for four, but a stand of 70 between Root and Buttler (43) offered some stability.

Root had unleashed a trademark reverse ramp for six off Boult early in his stay, but for the most part he played conservatively rather than looking dominate. Measured against the rest of his side, it was a cut above. Measured against the opposition, it was not enough.

He departed in the 42nd over, nutmegging and yorking himself in one swift movement as he tried to reverse sweep Phillips.

Chris Woakes set the tone for a chastening reply, kicking off with a half-volley that Conway gratefully stroked through cover and shipping 10 from his opening over.

Young’s cheap exit raised English spirits, however briefly, when he grazed a leg-side loosener from Curran into Buttler’s gloves but that merely brought the match-winners together.

Ravindra, promoted to number three for the first time in his ODI career, made an early target of Woakes as the experienced seamer served up a sequence of gentle four balls.

When England sought to reclaim control through the blunt pace of Wood, it only made things worse.

Conway drove his first ball straight past him for four before Ravindra peeled off a pair of lovely strokes, a swivel pull that raced flat through the night sky for six and a perfectly-timed punch through point on top of the bounce.

Wood looked rattled as he continued to crank up his speeds only for the ball to disappear with regularity, Conway eagerly showing off his prowess against the quick stuff.

By the end of the 10-over powerplay the Kiwis had roared to 81 for one, a clear 30 past England’s score at the same stage.

Ravindra had Moeen in his sights now, clubbing him for six in each of his first two overs, and even the arrival of Adil Rashid’s leg-spin could not slow things down.

Stokes emerged from the dugout to deliver some words of encouragement at the first drinks break but, even at that stage, it seemed too late.

The required rate continued to come down as both men reached celebrated centuries, Conway first over the line but Ravindra one ball quicker in just 82.

The closing stages of the chase were a procession, with runs flowing at will and a weary England side barely able to contain them before the finishing touches came off the second ball of the 37th over.

England manager Gareth Southgate is hoping for a positive update on Bukayo Saka after selecting the Arsenal star despite fears over his fitness.

Having failed to finish the matches against Tottenham and Bournemouth, the 22-year-old again left the field early in Tuesday’s 2-1 Champions League defeat at Lens.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta admitted afterwards that it “didn’t look good” for Saka, yet the forward was still named in Southgate’s 26-man squad two days later.

The England boss is awaiting news on the national team’s back-to-back men’s player of the year and has not given up on him being available for this month’s double-header against Australia and Italy.

“He’s still being assessed,” Southgate said of Saka, who faces a race to be involved for Arsenal against Manchester City on Sunday before attention turns to international matters.

“Obviously, they’ve got a big game this weekend and then there’s another seven days before we play Australia and 10 days before we play Italy as well.

“So, everybody will monitor everything as we go forward.”

England could wrap up their place at Euro 2024 this month, with the Wembley qualifier against Italy following their friendly under the arch against Australia.

Uncapped Levi Colwill and Eddie Nketiah got the nod along for the October fixtures, while Ollie Watkins received his first call-up since March 2022 and Jarrod Bowen returned for the first time since that September.

But there was no place for Mason Mount, James Ward-Prowse or Raheem Sterling, with the latter having not added to his 82 caps since the 2022 World Cup.

Asked if he spoke to Chelsea forward Sterling like he did last month, Southgate said; “No, we spoke before the last squad.

“As I said, we’ve been happy with the wide players and the performances in the last four games, in particular, and the two in March. The team are playing really well, so clearly there’s some stability there.

“We have added Jarrod Bowen in those wide areas – I mean, he scored five in seven games, he’s playing really well.

“With the Australia game as well, there’s an opportunity to learn some different things as well.”

On Watkins, who Southgate saw score a hat-trick for Aston Villa against Brighton at the weekend, he said: “There’s a little bit with Callum Wilson as well, so he’s carrying an injury.

“Not certain he’d be available. Ollie has started the season well. He’s hit a bit of scoring form in the last couple of weeks.

“You have to be careful with that because you can’t just go on recency bias when you’re looking at selection, but he is in good form.

“He’s obviously coming in on a high and he’s been with this before.

“We know his character, we know his personality. He’s a good guy around the around the group.

“Team are playing well, he’s playing for a club that are really well coached and the team are in a good moment.”

Ben Chilwell and Eberechi Eze join Wilson in missing this month’s matches through injury, while Harry Maguire, Jordan Henderson and Kalvin Phillips retain their place despite questions over their spots.

John Stones returned having missed a September camp that ended with a 3-1 win in Scotland, who are vying with England for Elliot Anderson’s international future.

The 20-year-old left the last Scottish camp after two days following his first call-up to the full squad and last week indicated he wanted more time to consider his international future.

“I haven’t (spoken to him),” Southgate said of the Newcastle talent. “I mean those things (Football Association technical director) John McDermott deals with that, really.

“So, I think we’re the same as Steve. We’re respectful that those sorts of decisions are big decisions and we don’t want to pressure anybody.

“We like Elliot, we think he’s a very good player, got high potential.

“He’s obviously at a club that are absolutely flying, so, yeah, we’ll just have to wait and see.

“But we’re very much respectful that if he needs time to think that through we completely understand.”

Joe Root rose to the occasion as England kicked off their World Cup defence by posting 282 for nine against New Zealand in a tightly-fought tournament opener in Ahmedabad.

The competition got under way with a repeat of the 2019 final, featuring 11 survivors from that classic encounter, but only a small proportion of the 134,000 seats at the cavernous Narendra Modi Stadium were filled to witness the clash.

Root, England’s top run-scorer four years ago, banished a run of indifferent form to carve out 77 from 86 balls and the reigning champions would have been lost without his class and composure at number three.

With Ben Stokes’ hip injury leaving a conspicuous gap in the middle order, England’s top order was swept aside all too easily.

Dawid Malan never came to terms with conditions after England were sent in to bat, Jonny Bairstow and Stokes’ deputy Harry Brook both gave away promising starts and Moeen Ali’s promotion to five was a gambit that blew up quickly.

England did not really settle until Root was joined by captain Jos Buttler in a fifth-wicket stand of 70, but when the latter was prised out by the impressive Matt Henry the pressure was back on.

Root accumulated calmly as the mistakes piled up around him, scoring four boundaries and one jaw-dropping reverse ramp for six, but he could not steer the innings home and was bowled through his legs with more than eight overs left.

Bairstow got the 48-match tournament off and running in style when he flicked Trent Boult’s second ball for a nonchalant six over square leg, but there was enough assistance in the pitch to ensure bat did not dominate for long.

Malan, newly installed as England’s first choice opener after usurping Jason Roy, eked out 14 in 24 deliveries before edging Henry behind attempted to hit his way into touch.

Bairstow (33) enjoyed a smoother start but just as he looked to be asserting himself, he failed to commit to a checked drive and lifted a gentle catch down the ground.

Root produced his party piece when he switched his hands to Boult and flipped him over the wicketkeeper’s head and into the stands and when Brook went after Rachin Ravindra’s first over the momentum appeared to be shifting.

Three successive drag downs disappeared for four, four, six but Brook succumbed looking for more of the same, picking out Devon Conway as he patrolled the midwicket boundary.

Moeen was sent in next, ahead of schedule, but lost his off stump to an ugly hack at Glenn Phillips.

Root and Buttler stabilised things through the middle overs, picking their moments to attack, but New Zealand stuck to the task. Henry returned to pick up Buttler’s edge for 43, leaving Root with plenty still to do at 188 for five.

A first hundred since the last World Cup would have done the trick but Root got his angles wrong as he aimed a reverse sweep at Phillips, yorking and nutmegging himself in the same act.

All-rounders Liam Livingstone (20) and Sam Curran (14) came and went before a 30-run cameo from the last-wicket pair of Mark Wood and Adil Rashid added some gloss to the English effort.

England are ready to kick off their World Cup defence with a rerun of their 2019 final victory against New Zealand, but returning hero Ben Stokes has emerged as an injury doubt for the opening game.

The lure of repeating the tournament triumph of four years ago was enough to draw Stokes out of ODI retirement after a year away from the format, but he may be confined to a watching brief in Ahmedabad.

While England fans will be glad to hear there are no signs of his long-term knee problems flaring up, skipper Jos Buttler revealed the 32-year-old has been struggling with soreness in his left hip in recent days.

He was the only member of the 15-strong squad not to play some part in this week’s warm-up win over Bangladesh, meaning he has not featured since scoring a new national record of 182 against the Black Caps on September 13.

Stokes joined his team-mates for their final training session under lights at the Narendra Modi Stadium – which is not expected to fill even half of its gargantuan 132,000 capacity – but was little more than a bystander.

He spent some time in the indoor gym but did not bat. Given the lengthy nature of the competition, which spans nine group games over six weeks, it seems highly unlikely that England would gamble with their prized asset at such an early stage.

“He’s got a slight niggle with his hip, but fingers crossed that it’ll be good news for us. We’ll see,” said Buttler.

“We’ll make the right call. If he’s not fit to play, he’s not fit to play. It’s not the time to take big risks on someone at the start of the tournament. Nearer the end, maybe you do take more of a risk with people’s injuries but it’s going to be a long tournament.”

Buttler is looking to repeat the career-defining achievement of his predecessor Eoin Morgan by lifting the trophy, but distanced himself from the notion of a title ‘defence’.

For a side who have rebuilt their entire philosophy around an aggressive mindset, it is a term he is more than happy to banish.

“I don’t see us as defending champions. We’re not defending anything. I want us to attack so I don’t like the word defending,” he said.

“For us it’s irrelevant. It certainly is for me. It’s fantastic to be reigning champions and I won’t say we’ve left that behind completely because it’s a nice place to be, but you’ve given that trophy back now. It’s done.

“It’s about trying to create something new. There’s always a desire for more, a hunger for more. We wouldn’t be here if we were content with what we’ve done.”

Stokes’ likely absence could open the way for Harry Brook to make his World Cup debut, a remarkable shift in fortunes for a player who was omitted from the original squad only to edge out Jason Roy at the eleventh hour.

Jos Buttler wants his England side to throw off the tag of ‘defending’ champions at the World Cup, insisting attack is the only thing on their mind in India.

Buttler remains fiercely proud of the 2019 triumph but has made it clear that the four-year-old title carries little weight once the tournament gets under way on Thursday, when England take on New Zealand in a repeat of the previous final.

The attachment to the trophy-winning side is clear – with eight of that squad on duty once again here and a ninth, Jofra Archer, in tow as a travelling reserve – but the captain is eager to draw a clear line under the past.

And that starts with banishing unhelpful terminology.

“I don’t see us as defending champions. We’re not defending anything. I want us to attack so I don’t like the word defending,” he said.

“It may be a motivation for certain teams when they’ve been in that position, but for us it’s irrelevant. It certainly is for me.

“It’s fantastic to be reigning champions and I won’t say we’ve left that behind completely because it’s a nice place to be, but you’ve given that trophy back now.

“It’s done. It’s about trying to create something new. We must be hungry to do it again and try to be focused on something different.

“I think the hunger is there. For most professional sports people, there’s always a want for more, there’s always a desire for more, a hunger for more.

“We wouldn’t be here if we were content with what we’ve done and you’re always excited for the new challenge.”

Buttler was the man who applied the finishing touch that secured England’s first World Cup at Lord’s, completing the run out that separated the two teams on the now defunct boundary countback rule, before taking over as captain for last year’s T20 success in Australia.

Having unified both white-ball crowns, the next seven weeks offer an opportunity to make it three global trophies in the space of four years.

That would be the kind of legacy to put England’s golden generation up with the very best there has been and Buttler is happy to be held to such high standards.

“We’re all dreamers and we all want to be able to say those things,” he said.

“It’s a nice place to be as an English sports team that fans expect you to do well and we’ll try our best for the fans back home and those that make it out here.

“I think the biggest thing is we know we are a team who like being in that position of having expectations on us.

“It’s a great place to be, I’d rather be there than a non-fancied side that nobody thinks has a chance.

“We’ve got some of the best players in the world in our team – that gives us a great chance.”

How much further the current team can take their story is open to debate. There are 11 thirtysomethings in the current squad of 15, including five who will be 34 by the end of the month.

A raft of retirements at the end of the World Cup would hardly be a huge surprise ahead of a new four-year cycle.

“We know we are an older squad than some and that should be a feather in everyone’s cap because of how professional we are to be playing to the standard we are at this age,” Buttler said.

“Age is not the defining factor – and we don’t need to add pressure by saying this is the last one – but I think it’s quite obvious with a few people being where they are at in their careers and the next ODI World Cup being four years away.

“But we’ll do our thing, we always try and enjoy the pleasure of playing for England. It’s a team that’s been together a long time and there’s some great friendships there and this World Cup is part of that story.

“We’ll try and make more great memories and cherish every moment as team-mates, friends and colleagues.”

Ben Stokes has emerged as an injury doubt for England’s World Cup curtain-raiser against New Zealand on Thursday, with a sore hip placing question marks over his place.

Stokes reversed his year-long retirement from ODI cricket in order to help defend the title he helped secure in 2019, despite concerns over his long-term fitness.

The 32-year-old has been struggling with a chronic knee condition in recent years and was selected as a specialist batter for the tournament after deciding to spare his body the rigours of bowling.

But on the eve of the opening match at the cavernous Narendra Modi Stadium, the biggest cricket venue on the planet with a capacity of more than 130,000, he was still being assessed.

Stokes has not played since smashing 182 against the Black Caps on September 13 and was the only squad member to play no part in this week’s warm-up victory over Bangladesh.

Captain Jos Buttler, speaking ahead of his side’s final training session, said: “He’s got a slight niggle with his hip, but fingers crossed that it’ll be good news for us. We’ll see.

“He’s working hard with the physios and we’ll know more when the guys arrive for training.

“We’ll make the right call. If he’s not fit to play, he’s not fit to play. If he is, we can make that decision.

“It’s not the time to take big risks on someone at the start of the tournament. Nearer the end, maybe you do take more of a risk with people’s injuries but it’s going to be a long tournament.”

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